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Rome Reports

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Former child soldiers get second chance in life through jobs and education

19-year-old James Korok is one of the several South Sudanese child soldiers fortunate enough to get another chance in life. After being released from the ongoing civil war, James is back in school and working as a tailor. 

Former Child Soldier (South Sudan)
“Before I joined the war, I had no ability to support my family but now I am working, I can make some clothes, like school uniforms, to help my family.”

Fortunately, James' situation is not the only positive example. Many former child soldiers are reintegrating after fighting in one of the deadliest civil wars. 

Many of them are now being trained to be an animal health officer, which will guarantee them jobs in Sudan. This training is run by the Veterinarians Without Borders Organization. 

The United Nations is also very attentive to the issue of child soldiers, particularly in South Sudan. For example, members of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict visited the country to discuss the future of the young people suffering. 

Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict
“The war is taking a very, very big toll on the children of this country and the scar remains deep.” “I think you also realize, when you meet these kids, the work that is needed to fully integrate them. There is a lot of resources needed, a lot of time and patience and some of those resources, I think , are still lacking, especially Pibor, as we saw today.”

Established in 2011, South Sudan is the world's youngest country. The nation has been in a civil war for the majority of its existence.

According to a U.S. State-department funded study in 2018, an estimate of 383,000 people have died due to the conflict. There has also been a major refugee crisis in the region with the displacement of over 4 million people. 

Earlier in 2018, Pope Francis shared his deep concern about the war. He even expressed interest in visiting South Sudan after his meeting with the country's Council of Churches. 

Though the war seems never-ending, these initiatives providing former child soldiers with new opportunities are beacons of hope.